Day 11: June 8th – Van Swaps and Traffic Stops

We woke up at Lake Alexandrina campsite, which neighbors Lake Tekapo. It was a cold night, and a frosty morning.

lake-alexandrina-camper-shot

Got up and walked down to the lake and Jo pranked some ducks for a while. It was a really beautiful site.

We saw a bunch of sheep on our way to Lake Tekapo. Pretty normal for driving around NZ.

 

Lake Tekapo is so amazingly beautiful. I wish we knew how to capture the Caribbean blue of the water in photos!

The Sheep Dog Memorial was there by the lake, too. All those sheep keep these guys very busy. They deserve respect!

Shepherd Dog memorial.JPG

The old Church of the Good Shepherd was there, too.

We didn’t spend too much time, since we had to return the camper and pick up the new one.

Once we got back in the van and we were getting ready to leave, we looked over at the van next to us and the guy in the driver’s seat was wearing a neck pillow!!!  What?!?!  It was hilarious.

The drive from Lake Tekapo for the next hour was really pretty and nice. Then it turned into a bigger highway with a lot more traffic, once we were getting closer to Christchurch.

We made a quick pit stop at Rakaia, the Salmon Capital of New Zealand, where they have a giant salmon statue in the middle of an amazing park with an adult-sized hamster wheel.

We hit the road again and stopped at the Cookie Time Factory Outlet Store and bought a kilo of broken cookies for $9.50 NZ. Those should last us a while on the road!

We forgot to mention–when we were in Queenstown, there was a place called Cookie Time Cookie Bar that served cookies and had karaoke. Amazing business idea. We’re looking for angel investors…let us know if you’re in!

Finally we did a painful pre-wash of the van ourselves at a self-wash. The inside was fine, but the outside was suuuuuuper dirty and we really couldn’t get it done, despite lots of elbow grease on Jo’s part.

splash-n-dash

We went to a Centex station and gassed up, and sent the Space Ship through the car wash.

Then we went to Jucy to pick up our new camper relocation. The gal who helped us was hilarious. Once she learned we were Americans, she couldn’t stop talking about the Kardashians. She said she would rather watch the Kardashians than go to the NZ All Blacks Rugby game. She thought she’d fit in really well with them.

We asked her for a lot of favors, like, if we could have the van longer than 3 days and still only pay $1 per day. She kept saying, “Yeah, we can do that, I’m the boss!…until my boss comes back.” Ha! …and then she actually did it! Wow, $7 for 7 days. SCORE!

We bought our tickets for the first ferry of the morning to the North island, then returned the Space Ship in the nick of time. Phew!

Our Jucy van is sweet–a little fancier than the ol’ Spaceship (but don’t worry baby, we still love you!). There’s even a DVD player in it. The Jucy office had a little bookshelf of travel books and DVDs that adventurers had left behind when they returned their vans, so others could borrow them and return them when they were done. We were VERY lucky to find the first season of Eastbound & Down on that little shelf. YES!

We stopped at the grocery store to pick up some basics, then found a Pizza Hut for dinner! Pizzas are super cheap! They are a bit smaller, but still big enough for us. We got a seafood pizza and it was delicious. You also get to pick what sauce you want on your pizza, even though it might already have marinara on it. Sweet chili sauce is a big deal over here, and they put that stuff on everything. They also have sides there–so weird! But, hey, we didn’t ask too many questions and just ordered the onion rings.

We keep hearing the same commercials over and over again on the radio, and one of our favorites to imitate is for a children’s clothing store called, Pumpkin Patch. It’s a bunch of little Kiwi kiddos shouting “PUMPKIN PATCH!” in their Kiwi accents. It’s the cutest!!

We hit the road up the East Coast from Christchurch for the second time on this trip, caught a sick sunset…

east-coast-sunset

and didn’t stop until…

June 8th – 9:30pm: WE JUST GOT PULLED OVER!

A police officer just pulled us over for speeding, as we came into the town of Kaikoura. He was rocking a sweet beard, kind of like this:

bearded-police-officer

After asking for Jo’s license and looking it over, he asked Jo what the firearm safety thing meant on his license. They immediately got to chatting about hunting. The officer talked about wild pigs at his property, and a “traditional hunt.” He was talking about someone dropping off a wild pig…?

Even though we speak the same language, it is HARD to understand Kiwis sometimes!

Anyway, this police officer was hilarious. He talked about a side-by-side buggy? Did he mean a motorcycle with a sidecar? If anyone who speaks Kiwi can shed some light, that’d be great. Then just when their conversation was getting good, someone called his cell phone. He ignored it for a while, but finally answered it and said, “Okay, give me five minutes.” Then they kept talking for a while again, and someone buzzed his walkie talkie. He responded with a fed up, “All right, I’ll be right there!”

Then he turned to us and said, “Every time I get to talk about hunting, I get interrupted!”

Eventually he decided he should go, handed Jo his license back and said, “Watch your speed.”

AMAZING.

Also, I just found this. Kiwi cops are wonderful.

We got going again toward a campsite near Picton so we can catch the ferry in the morning. Our first choice campsite was full. Fudge! Choice #2 is…? Hmm, not a lot of options up here.

We pulled in to Whatamango campsite, bellied up to the Car Bar and watched a couple episodes of Eastbound & Down before bed.

We are North Island-bound tomorrow! It’s sad to leave the South Island, but we’re excited to keep on exploring and discovering more of this amazing country!

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